Tagged: john carpenter

The Best TANGERINE DREAM Song of ALL Time?!

Tangerine Dream is easily one of the best instrumental synth groups of all time, they have scored some iconic movies and even some sweet lower grade B-flicks. Creating true atmosphere that can take you to some pretty stunning places with their beautiful scores and trippy albums. Very few can go toe to toe with their brilliance, maybe the likes of John Carpenter & Goblin, come to mind.

This German electronic synth group was founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese with many different musicians joining the fold over the years. Sadly he passed in 2015 but the band continues on without him, for better or for worse. Anyway if you don’t know the group at least I can say you have probably heard them unknowingly in a movie over the years. The other day I came to a bold conclusion, which is in my opinion my top 3 favorite songs by the group. This is an open invitation to have my selections challenged and discover more of their best songs as I haven’t explored their vast scores and albums in their entirely. That being said here are my current picks for their BEST compositions of ALL time!

‘No Man’s Land’ from Hyperborea (1983) 

 As things currently stand I’m gonna have to go out on a limb and say that this is the best Tangerine Dream song of all time. As far as I know this was never used in a soundtrack and that’s a shame because this one takes you places places you’ve never been before flying through different dimensions sit back and close your eyes close your eyes take a puff off your joint and let your mind go wild!  If it’s not their best track it’s at the very least my current favorite…

The close 2nd goes to their mystically dreamy atmospheric track from the soundtrack of 1977’s brilliant mega tense adventure film ‘Sorcerer’ called ‘The Journey’. This song doesn’t play for nearly long enough in the movie but you get just enough of it there to make you search out the full version and behold it’s true glory…

  I’m also gonna have to mention ‘Love on a Real Train’ from 1983’s ‘Risky Business’ soundtrack.  Let’s face the facts without the brilliant tendering dream soundtrack this movie would lose a lot of it’s appeal and emotional flavor. Simply a stunner…

 So my question to you is what do you think are the best Tangerine Dream songs of all time? Please share!!

Halloween 2021: Who Won? CHUCKY or MICHAEL MYERS?!

It’s been a bit of a “David & Goliath” horror showdown in 2021, two iconic slashers went head to head this Halloween and as far as I’m concerned the little guy has emerged as the clear victor! ‘Chucky’ stomped ‘Halloween Kills’, continuing the horror saga with no need to cancel ANY of it’s sequels, no matter how ridiculous they may have been! Not an easy feat, but Don Mancini has stuck to his guns and once again breathed some fresh air into the fanchise.

 Mancini also deserves a lot of credit for clearly how much love he still has for Chucky. He clearly doesn’t need to erase the sequels, keeping everything cannon, something I really respect that oddly works in his favor here with the new Syfy series. He’s built an entire world within his sequels and it becomes even more interesting as some of the most ludicrous plot points of the earlier ones remain intact with this darker toned series that feels much more akin to the original.

 ‘Halloween Kills’ however is clearly being pushed imo for a different reason, what I believe to be more of an IP “cash grab” reboot thing. ‘The Pineapple Express’ director doesn’t bring much new or interesting to the table for someone who’s erased all of the sequels and replaced them with basically the “Terminator: Dark Fate” of the Halloween franchise. Hey, If you’re going to revise the existing lore, that is beloved by a lot of fans, you better have something bad ass planned for your new time line. ‘Halloween Kills’ personally left me completely underwhelmed & unexcited for whatever comes next. At this point who gives a shit about yet another Halloween timeline?

‘Chucky’ however has introduced us to a whole new cast of (so far) interesting characters, Don Mancini has finally brought us a gay horror protagonist to root for that doesn’t feel forced. ‘Cult of Chucky’ left us with also quite a fresh twist on things, Tuesday night we hit mid season with episode 4, though I’m at the moment starting to slightly feel some padding in the series, I’m hoping that the final 4 episodes will increase the mayhem as they introduce Tiffany and whoever else mysteriously pops in for the story.

Looking at the end of the last Chucky film there’s a lot of interesting directions this current story could now go in. I really hope they take some chances here like they were doing in the last Chucky film rather than trying to just stick to the original basic slasher formula. ‘Chucky’ now has the chance to go completely bonkers and throw the fans a bloody curve ball they’ll never forget. If they continue to incorporate some wild voodoo rituals, human possessions, multiple Chucky’s and one mean mysterious motive for the mayhem, the first season will be off to a sweet start. As it stands Chucky has cut Michael down to size with the authenticity of the original creator at it’s helm who’s clearly hungry to tell a new fresh story. Let’s see if he can deliver a home run in the last four episodes or if it’s flame fizzles into the realm of the tired reboots and bland cash grab “sequels”. Fingers crossed!

 

‘HALLOWEEN: H20’ Holds Up Even Better after ‘HALLOWEEN KILLS’!

Ok so here we are again, doing the whole John Carpenter Halloween “sequel” reboot hype machine again! But to be honest I’m not at all that hyped yet again this time around. As I stated In 2018, I found ‘Halloween: H20’ to be my favorite finale of the Laurie Strode vs Michael Myers saga.

It was exciting way back in 1998 to witness their epic familial final confrontation unfold on the big screen. It was a big deal for horror fans. Sure the movie was made during the hype of the “Scream” phenomenon and is a bit of a sign of the times of what horror was back then stylistically. The same could be said of horror movies set in the 1970s and 80s really, so I can’t really fault it for that. What it did bring was its own uniquely original story and wasn’t a basic retread of things we had already seen in the very first film. I like to refer to ‘H40’ as the “Force Awakens” of the franchise. I don’t consider that a big positive either, rather a sign of Hollywood’s continual laziness.

 So now we get the supposed long awaited sequel to the “sequel”, of an amazing movie that in my opinion ALREADY had an amazing sequel directed by John Carpenter himself. So already it seemed a bit pointless to me. Watching ‘Halloween Kills’ I continuously found myself wondering what really is the point of this all? What was this movie actually adding to the mythos of the Halloween franchise? To me it just seemed like more backtracking for no real reason and began to remind me of recent tired Hollywood retreads like ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’.

If you simply came to observe Michael Myers back in action, hacking and slashing random people to bits, then you were likely somewhat satisfied. To me though, my level of engagement started to quickly wane to the lows of the Rob Zombie era Halloween which ends up just being a boring flat downer. I also don’t think that this current sequel reboot features any real likable characters at this point either.  Sure it was cool to see Anthony Michael Hall back in a movie again, and I guess it was exciting(?) to see Jamie Lee Curtis again? Not sure if I give a damn anymore. Basically I feel like this movie simply took all of the most unique elements of Halloween 2 & Halloween 4 and squashed them into one bleak, brutal somewhat generic package. Nothing new to see here. If you’re going to go through this much trouble to re-tell a sequel series you’d better damn well make sure you’ve got something interesting and fresh going on in the plot.

To me ‘Halloween Kills’ offers nothing really. Just a collection of brutal kills, most feeling completely random and senseless. It left me completely underwhelmed for what was to come in the supposed final installment. However it also again completely improves the staying power, charm & heart of ‘Halloween H20’ as it ages like a fine bloody red wine.

I already got my Laurie vs Michael finale when it was a fresh idea, now it just feels like ‘Halloween: Ressurection’,  completely unnecessary….then again not surprising when a horror movie franchise is rebooted by the guy who directed ‘The Pineapple Express’ I guess. Well that being said if you dig H20 check out this new sweet video that really puts into perspective how much Hollywood screws with good ideas from Jamie Lee Curtis herself! 

Charlie Brown & The Peanuts Take on John Carpenter’s THE THING?!!

As if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder!!! Charlie Brown & The Peanuts have come face to face with their greatest threat this winter! Snoopy has been replicated into an alien monstrosity ala John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’! Oh the horror Charlie Brown!!!

 

Movie Review: Old Dudes STILL Kick Ass in VFW!!!

I just checked out VFW, the latest from director Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye) who returns with, in my opinion his best film yet! This sweet little gritty love letter to John Carpenter, which calls back to his classic ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ in big way, is also a blood soaked love letter to some older actors/action stars of yesteryear. We’ve got icons Fred Williamson, William Sadler, Stephen Lang, Martin Kove & even George Wendt from ‘Cheers’ to make this bar room brawl even more authentic!

The story kicks off on a special birthday night for VFW bar owner “Fred” and his tight knit gang of bad ass war veterans. The evening quickly turns into wild all-out battle for their lives when a teen punk rock girl crashes their party with a sack full of ‘hype’. This new drug basically turns people into demented maniacs, with a hunger for more hype at any cost. The evil punk drug dealer, desperate to get his valuable stash back, sends his gang of gnarly addicts on a rampage to get it back. When these mutant punks on a rampage storm the bar looking for the teen, the old vets along with a younger soldier get to relive the gory glory years of war one more time. They unleash their pent of rage and fury using every weapon they can get their hands on to protect the girl and try annihilate the horde of drug addled maniacs. However these messed up punks have hype running through their veins and want more, risking anything to their grimy paws on it.

If you’re a fan of old school action flicks from the 70’s & 80’s you’re going to really get a kick out of VFW. The gore is pretty over the top, done in a such a cartoony way that people literally explode on screen. As a fan of practical fx Begos always delivers the goods with some wild splatter, he also keeps the vibe placed firmly in the golden days of the action era, with not a cell phone in sight. It also feels like an 80’s flick, with stunning neon lit sets within the walls of the cool old dank dive bar.

The real highlight of this is the cast of old codgers who do the majority of the ass kickin’. It’s absolutely delightful to see the likes of Fred Williamson & The Karate Kid’s Martin “Sensei” Kove in full on action mode as well as Stephen Lang, William Sadler and the younger soldier played by Tom Williamson. They’re all great here and give this film the cred it deserves proving age is just a number when it comes to cinematic butt kicking. I really enjoyed VFW, it’s the perfect modern midnite movie and gets so much praise for bringing in some old icons into the mix of onscreen mayhem. Check this out if you’re a fan of 70’s/80’s cult action horror flicks- And here’s to hoping VFW gets a sequel bringing even more of the bar’s patrons into the fold, hand picking some more old nearly forgotten bad asses to do some damage one last time! 

Badass Seniors vs Mutant Punks: Who Dares Enter The VFW?!!

I’m pretty damn excited about the upcoming horror survival flick VFW from Joe Begos, who’s already got some pretty sweet modern horror movies under his belt like ‘Almost Human’ & ‘The Mind’s Eye’. VFW shows the same promise but this time with a stellar cast, the likes of Martin Kove, Fred Williamson, Stephen Lang & Cheer’s own barstool regular George Wendt. A lazy crew of old codger war veterans have their usual evening of drinkin’ abruptly interrupted when their beloved VFW hall comes under attack by a vicious gang of punks, who’re fully jacked up on a powerful new drug called ‘the hype’.

 

So far this looks like a modern cult classic and it’s so cool when a newer director showcases some of the genre’s older largely forgotten heros in inventive new ways. VFW also features Bego’s regular Graham Skipper who always does a stellar job. It looks like it’s going for a John Carpenter ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ type of vibe here, except with more over the top gore and with each movie this director does, his chops improve greatly, I’ve still yet to see his 2019 release ‘Bliss” but it’s definitely on my radar as well. VFW is set for release on Feb 14th 2020, can’t wait to check this out as it’s definitely one of my most anticipated!     

VHS Verdict: ‘DON’T PANIC’ the 80’s Mexican Ouija Board Pajama Party Nightmare!

I’ve been on a kick lately of trying to find lost movie gems from the 1980’s, mostly searching for foreign horror flicks from that era. It’s been pretty fun finding a ton of cool Hong Kong stuff and more recently discovering an awesome 80’s horror director from Mexico named Ruben Galindo Jr. The first of his horror movies I checked out was 1985’s ‘Cemetery of Terror’ and that got me hot on the tracks of the rest of his horror output of that era. So far he’s got a great track record, as Cemetery of Terror is ton of fun, a blend of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Carpenter’s Halloween & The Goonies. Well ‘Don’t Panic’ from 1987 is just as entertaining but in a far more ridiculous manner. It’s like a blend of Witchboard, Nightmare on Elm Street 2 with a dash of D-level John Hughes. I mean that in the best way as it’s the perfect flick to watch with a gang of ravenous cinefiles on a Saturday nite!

It’s main character the very whiny, curly blonde, seventeen year old american mama’s boy named Michael who’s forced to move to Mexico City to live with his alcoholic mother. On his seventeenth birthday his gang of irritating teen morons throw him a terrible party where they fully embarrass him in front of his school crush, peer pressure him to get totally wasted & eventually coax him into using a ouija board. Of course weird shit goes down and soon he’s seeing nightmarish visions of violent murders being committed all over the city nightly. While this consumes most of his time, he’s also falling head over heels in love with one of his lovely classmates. The two skip class one day an go on the greatest ridiculously awesome 80’s date ever put to screen while he takes her all over town on his bmx bike. Yeah life seems just perfect but of course he’s plagued by even more bizarre visions of murder, his eyes begin turn blood red forcing him to don sunglasses & avoid the new love of his life. Things get so crazy that he’s unable to sleep, but crazier yet, he begins to roam the streets in a pair of unbelievable dinosaur pajamas that are suited for a 6 year old! It’s one of my favorite things about this movie, those infamous PJ’s!! Best yet is that he spends probably 3/4ths of the film proudly donning them! All I wanna know is where the hell can I find a pair of those for myself?!!

Ok so this ones clearly a ton of idiotic fun, they even have a sort of Freddy Kruger type supernatural slasher dude named…..VIRGIL! He loves to taunt Michael and forces him on a wild spooky goose chase (in his PJ’s of course). This movie bleeds the 1980’s in it’s style and special effects work, modestly executed by FX master Screamin’ Mad George (Predator/ Nightmare on Elm Street 3/ Society)! Unlike ‘Cemetery of Terror’, this one’s in English (though it’s clear there’s some serious dubbing at times for certain actors) but still shows the charm of Mexico in the 1980’s, something I truly appreciate here. It’s filled with tons of ridiculous dialogue, over top bad acting and stands up there with some of the most fun the genre had to offer from it’s US counterparts.             

                                                                                               

  Galindo’s got a few other horror films I need to check out still, but this far in I’m starting to think he must be come sort of cult horror director in Mexico? He clearly had his finger on the pulse of cheezy, fully entertaining 80’s horror and I really think more horror fans here in the USA should be aware of his movies. They can be a bit hard to find physical copies of but luckily ‘Don’t Panic’ has been posted on Youtube if you wanna check it out that way. If you want a physical copy you can find it on Twistedanger.com a site filled with super hard to find cult flicks!! Check it out!

VHS Verdict: ‘Riki-Oh’ Director’s ‘THE CAT’ from 1991 is Equally Bonkers!

I finally after years of searching, got a copy of the highly elusive, lost Hong Kong Horror / Sci-fi flick from 1991! If you’ve ever seen the director’s previous movie ‘Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki’ then you’ve got a decent idea of what you’re in for here. Lam Ngai Kai, the cult director at the helm here ended his wild and truly weird film making run with this crazy gem and then completely disappeared, likely completely satisfied with the truly bonkers back catalog of films he left behind.

‘The Cat’ is the perfect finale to his cult legacy as well, the only problem is, it’s a damn hard one to track down unless you search it down on Youtube and can find decent a version with subtitles, I’m not a big fan of the film quality that turns up there for many of these “lost” movies. But sometimes it’s the only way to check these rare flicks out. Filmed back to back with ‘Riki-Oh’, this one again is a short, sweet briskly paced, frenetic adventure with a runtime just under 80 minutes.

The story of course is yet another truly weird one: an amorphous blob of tentacled evil, is set loose from somewhere in deep space down to the streets of Hong Kong. Meanwhile mild mannered adventure novelist Wisely, is given an odd tip from a friend who suspects something strange afoot at his normally quiet apartment complex, discovering his next door neighbors are a trio aliens from another planet being lead by their “pet” cat named ‘The General’. Stranded on Earth they’re intent on completing a mysterious secret mission. Soon Wisley’s stuck in a mind bending web of utter mayhem when he tracks down & befriends the alien trio, embarking on a horror drenched adventure to stop the evil alien blob from continuing it’s path of destruction.

The Cat’s got a lot going for it, especially if you’re a fan of gooey, fast moving horror movies like Evil Dead II & stuff like The Terminator and The Thing. It’s got sweet 80’s style special FX galore, “Cat vs Dog” fist fights, over the top gun play & a down right bizarre train wreck of a plot. I mean that in the best way possible and some of the way it comes off is likely do to the crude translation of the dialogue via subtitles. It’s got a few scenes that kinda just have to be seen to be believed, not nearly anywhere as gory as Riki-Oh, but surely a unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie before. Particularly a sequence where the intelligent alien cat “General” is pursued by Hong Kong’s most dangerous canine, a hulking mastiff, who’s been sent by Wisely to hunt him down. Dog & cat duke it out in a creepy junkyard while the ‘General’ the cat displays some incredible human fighting techniques and even sports an unbelievable wresting move right out of the WWF to end the whole damn confrontation!

There’s tons of colorful, gooey practical fx to marvel over as well, puppets, gore, stunts & that classic 80’s electricity used to pure perfection. Director Lam Ngai Kai truly revels in the absurdity of it all and clearly used his stunning fx spectacles as the center pieces for his films. Turning your mind off and simply enjoying the eye candy is the best approach to his movies. I’m stunned most only know his movie Riki-Oh, which is now a bonafide cult classic, when he’s got a trove of incredible movies that all rival it. Do yourself a favor and check out ‘The Seventh Curse’ & ‘The Ghost Snatchers’ from 1986, ‘The Peacock King’ from 1989 as well as ‘The Cat’ & ‘Riki Oh’ 9if you haven’t seen that one yet). All of these movies deserve a remastered official blu ray release dammit!! Until then I’ve got some extra boot VHS copies of the movie If you’re interested!!

 

Halloween 2018: Was it Really Better Than ‘Halloween H20’?

So yesterday I checked out the new Halloween (H40, I’ll call it) movie everyone has been ranting and raving about, as a long time fan of the franchise I can say it was a pretty damn well done sequel. It did in a way bring back memories of eagerly heading into the theater 20 years ago for basically the same event, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode facing off against her long time nemesis Michael Myers for ‘Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later’. I remember how excited I was back in 1998 seeing this legendary face off happen on the big screen and it left me pondering yesterday, which was a better film?

So first off Jamie Lee Curtis coming back AGAIN was a very special treat! Hell yeah, she did a great job as Laurie Strode and the nostalgia was super high once again seeing her as the iconic final girl. She truly brought firey emotion to film and completely sold her desperation and paranoia in awaiting the return of the Michael Myers. She also was essentially a total Sarah Connors type character, a full on badass waiting for the chance now to finally destroy her nemesis, equipped with guns galore and a crazy ass fortress filled with traps as her home. ‘Halloween: T2’. You could really feel the final battle brewing and the thick tension in the air from the get go. Quite a different character than in H20, here she’s eagerly awaiting the chance to kill Myers rather than hide from him.

Rather than a son this time around she had her daughter, who’d she spent most of her childhood training to use guns and survive an inevitable confrontation with Michael she was certain would someday occur. Her daughter now resentful of her intense upbringing has a daughter of her own, Laurie’s granddaughter, whom she’d really like to distance from her supposedly wacko overreacting final girl of a mom. Meanwhile Michael who’s been locked up for 40 years escapes and goes on a killing rampage. So there you have it in a nutshell story wise at least.. 

It also had a stunning new score from the master who started it all, John Carpenter. That definitely gave it the feel of nostalgia and set the mood quite well for the most part. It did however make me wonder a few times though, why not just have Carpenter get in the director’s chair as well? David Gordon Green did a decent job directing but his resume is a bit perplexing, ‘Pineapple Express’ being his most notable amongst a trove of weird unpopular rom coms. H20’s director Steve Miner directed genre favorites ‘Friday The 13th’ Parts 2&3, ‘House’ from 1986, Warlock (1989) and was even second unit director on the cult classic ‘Night of the Creeps’. Though H40 was a pretty solid effort overall there’s still a part of me that thinks just maybe H20 may have been a better end to the saga? Am I crazy?! I thought the 2018 version was darker in tone, for the most part, except when there’s Danny Mcbride comedy oddly inserted throughout which seemed a little off most of the time. I do remember H20 had some of odd comedy as well with LL COOL J wisecrackin’ and a general sort of a Scream-esque style to the whole experience. I thought the kill scenes here were pretty decent, most being done off screen, only seeing the end result mostly and one cgi knife kill that did indeed kinda bother me. I’d say in the inventive kill department though Halloween 2018 didn’t bring a lot new to the table. Continue reading

WTF: Robert Englund Returns as Freddy Krueger?!!

So it’s happening Nightmare on Elm Street fans! Robert Englund is indeed returning as the iconic character Freddy Krueger, but not quite in the way we’d all been hoping for the last 15 years. “The Goldbergs” is an ABC sitcom that apparently takes place in the 1980’s and I’m gonna admit it, I’d never heard of it before as I don’t watch “regular” TV anymore. But one of the upcoming Halloween episodes of the show will indeed feature Robert Englund in the role of Freddy Krueger once more. Here’s the synopsis:

“Despite Beverly’s wishes, Jackie’s parents allow Adam to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street and a disagreement between the families ensues. But Beverly dreams of facing off with horror icon Freddy Krueger (guest star Robert Englund), which teaches her an important lesson about her son’s relationship with Jackie. Meanwhile, Erica realizes she’s not as popular as she once was as she starts hanging out at William Penn Academy despite the fact she’s no longer a student there.”

Here’s a pic from the upcoming show:

Anyway I’m really hoping that this might inspire some sort of real legit campaign to get Rob to Return in the iconic role for another movie. He still looks totally awesome as ol’ Fred and I’m certain fans would be more than ecstatic for another movie with him in the classic role!! With the popularity of the upcoming installment of Halloween “H40” featuring Jamie Lee Curtis it seems more possible than ever that perhaps we might actually see another Nightmare on Elm Street movie with Robert. In the meantime I guess I’ll check this TV show out, just to get a glance at Englund on the sitcom! Finger blades crossed that this leads to something more!! Check this shit out!

The Goldbergs,” WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/John Fleenor)